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Feb 23, 15

"I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I am really interested in the marketing industry, specifically content marketing and branding, as I think there are some things that they do really well that can apply to the learning landscape and vice versa. Now that I am getting into a PKM routine my attention has started to shift more in this direction. Here is what I noticed this week:

A post by Seth Godin (former VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo and bestselling author) found via Feedly on giving people what the want: This post, to me, is a reminder of what value we can add to those in the marketing industry. Seth sums it up nicely:

“Don’t say, “I wish people wanted this.” Sure, it’s great if the market already wants what you make… Instead, imagine what would happen if you could teach them why they should.”

A post on the hottest Uber links by Marshall Kirkpatrick who runs Little Bird (a company thatcreatesinfluencer discovery and engagement tools) found. Two things struck me as interesting:
Marshall chose to work out loud and share his links with the world instead of emailing them to a friend. I just tlove finding examples of others outside the L&D industry using the term “work out loud.” It means it’s resonating!
Marshall mapped the Uber community (using Little Bird) to find the most influential members of that community online and see what they are talking about. It had me wondering how software like this could help people trying to build their personal learning networks.
A tweet by Jane Hart linking to an article by Tom Spiglanin on the demise of the e-learning brand. I love seeing others in the L&D indutry make the marketing connection as well. This also made me ponder what e-learning would look like if we had actually followed the brand principles he outlined from the start.

"the e-learning brand has eroded, become diluted, & has therefore outlived its usefulness" <grt piece @tomspiglanin

— Jane Hart (C4LPT) (@C4LPT) February 5, 2015"

Jan 29, 15

"There are many contributing factors that have led to our current economic system and continued acceptance of the 40-hour workweek, three major factors being consumerism, inflation, and debt"

Jan 25, 15

"“Celebrity Freelancer” is my pet name for those internet-famous “gurus” who don’t seem to do much, besides spending 20 hours a day online, trying to get people to buy their e-books, speaking gigs or in my case, fine art.

For people stuck in office jobs they despise, being a “Celebrity Freelancer” sounds like a pretty sweet deal, until you actually have to do it. Having to be “interesting” every day and pimping all the time via your blog is actually a pretty demeaning and soul-destroying way to spend one’s life. After a couple of months you start hating yourself. Nein danke.
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Some boring advice for young artistsIn "meta"

On cartooningIn "cartoons"

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[This is strictly my personal blog. My work blog is over at]

Since 1997 I've been drawing cartoons on the back of business cards, just to give me something to do while sitting at the bar.

So far, I have drawn over 10,000 of them.

The mission of is to document and archive every single one of the ten-thousand-plus cards I've drawn since 1997, plus any other cartoons, ideas and writings I care to share with the world. Documenting the cards is a mammoth task, but it’ll to be an amazing body of work, once it’s done.

I've been regularly showing the cards individually over at the since 2001.

The vast majority of the cards are India ink on acid-free card stock (Strathmore 400 vellum bristol board), cut to standard business-card size.

The cards are generally not for sale, because I want to keep the collection as intact as impossible.

I like getting emails from y'all:

I’ll be regualrly updating the site with new work, as events unfold etc.

Thanks for visiting,

- Hugh MacLeod

Dec 28, 14

"Ton may have started her research in retail, but she believes her core findings are relevant in nearly every industry. After re-evaluating the relationship between worker management and profit, she argues that many corporate leaders will realize that paying their workers more and treating them better will actually make everyone better off. And this, indeed, would foment a small revolution. For generations, technology has been a source of misery for many low-paid workers, rendering their jobs tedious or eliminating them altogether. Gallup recently reported that only 29 percent of North American workers feel engaged with their work. Yet Ton suggests that a more sophisticated use of those same technological tools could reverse those trends. It’s possible that the lousy commodity jobs that we think of as central to an industrialized economy — from Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” to “Office Space” to the latest disaster in Bangladesh — may not be a sad but inevitable result of a bigger, more efficient economy; it may just be a math error. Ikea’s decision to improve conditions for its workers is a major step forward. Persuading Walmart, with its 1.3 million U.S. employees . . . well, that might be a revolution."

in outliners: PK Mastery

Sep 15, 14

"A growing talent gap that’s getting wider with more than half of employees surveyed feeling that their company provides inadequate training on technology, despite an acceptance that demand for skills like analytics and programming/development will grow sizeably over the next three years. Worse, less than one-third say their company makes the latest technology available to them.

Lack of leadership is to blame for all all this, with executives citing lack of access to strong leaders as the number two impediment to achieving their goals of building a workforce to meet future business objectives. Under a third of executives interviewed reckon that they would be able to replace a skilled departing employee from within the organization, with most of them believing that their own leaders don’t the skills to manage talent or inspire employees.

Workforce transience over permanence as the emergence of the ‘as a service’ economy leads to organizations tapping into freelance external contractors and resources to plug gaps and deliver ‘as needed’ skills. This clearly impacts on the nature of the workforce which becomes more fluid and less permanent. This one isn’t going to change though as 83% of executives state they plan to use more and more ‘consulting employees’."

Sep 15, 14

"Our recent social business report suggested that 67% of executives thought that social media had the opportunity to fundamentally change their businesses. The number was higher for companies that were deriving greater business value from these technologies. Compelling reasons, rooted in fundamental concepts of economics and business strategy, support this belief that social media will fundamentally reshape not only individual organizations, but also the business environment as a whole."

Mar 10, 14

So what does it take to be a job maximizer?

Choose Your Talent. Who do you want to employ? AutonomyWorks focuses on people with autism. Shinola focuses on former auto workers. There are many other segments of the labor force who are underemployed or underutilized.
Find Your Market. What products or services can these workers best make or provide? This is where the entrepreneurial magic comes into play. You need to find something that suits your people and also generates a sustainable profit. Friedman recommends looking for markets where work has been off-shored or automated, and that have low capital requirements.
Design Your System. What innovations do you need to meet the unique needs and bring out the best in your workers? This might involve rethinking hiring, process design, management, or organizational culture. The key is turning people’s disadvantage in society into your company’s competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Over the last twenty years, we have successfully created an entirely new economic sector in which social entrepreneurs maximize purpose over profit. It’s time to turn this entrepreneurial spirit on a new goal: job creation. We need more people like Dave Friedman and more companies like Shinola — job maximizers and employment entrepreneurs.

Jul 18, 13

In the chart you can see that in the US in the 1980s there was strong growth in high-skill jobs and a reduction in low-skill jobs, in the 1990s there was massive growth in high-skill jobs and a little growth in low-skill jobs, and in 1999-2007 there was high growth in low-skill jobs and a little growth in high-skill jobs.

At no point was there growth in middle-skilled jobs.

May 30, 13

The Corporation is at Odds with the Future<br /><br />by Grant McCracken | 1:00 PM May 29, 2013<br /><br /> Comments

A client recently asked me to comment crisply on the future. I came up with these observations.<br /><br />See if you can spot my error.<br /><br /> The world is speeding up. In 1989, Alan Kay said it takes at least 10 years for an innovation to get from the lab into everyday life. Twitter did it in 4.<br /> Faster change means more turbulence. Assumptions are now less reliable. Best guesses are often shots in the dark. Planning sounds like an act of courage, strategy like a flight of imagination. When Alvin Toffler warned us of this in 1970, we scoffed. Now we're living it.<br /> Every individual and organization lives in a state of surprise, as Peter Schwartz puts it. Just a couple of years ago, professional planners at a big ad agency informed me that Twitter was a passing fancy. So I was interested to note that the first thing LL Cool J did as host of the Emmy's this year was announce the hashtags for the show. Boy, was that agency surprised.<br /> There is a considerable advantage to seeing the world in motion, picking up "noise" well before it becomes an intelligible "signal." We have to extract more intelligence from less data. We will need "big data" and good ethnography to spot and track the world in the works. For instance, this would have meant grasping the fact (and some of the implications) of Twitter in, say, 1998.<br /><br /> And what we really need is a more responsive organization, one that can reinvent itself in real time, on the fly. This will take potent, new powers of adaptation, but it's our only hope.<br /><br />Spot the error?<br /><br />I carried my assumptions into the future. I continued to think about the corporation as I normally do... and resolved merely to retrofit it with new parts in order to make it more sensing and more responsive in the future.<br /><br />Boo! No, really, I mean it. Boo! Bad anthropologist. Bad!<br /><br />What I should have done is examine my idea of a corporation, dig out the assumptions, and re-craft the idea. That's one of the ways we make ourselves ready for the future.<br /><br />Here is my present idea of the corporation, give or take. The corporation is a thing of people, processes, places, and products (give or take). And these 4 Ps are relatively well-defined, organized, boundaried, and anchored (more or less).<br /><br />But that's a problem. This corporation is deeply at odds with the future. Because the future is never defined, organized, boundaried, or anchored. Really, it's all just hints and whispers. Fragile melody, no refrain.<br /><br />Hence, the great antagonism between corporations and time. A creature that defines itself out of definition, organization, boundary, and anchoring, must hate a future that is shapeless and unmoored. To the corporations, the future looks like the enemy, a risk that can't be managed, an idea that can't be thought.<br /><br />The corporation puts a particular boundary between now and the future. And it guards this border ferociously. New ideas are scrutinized with tough mindedness and high indignation. If we can't see the business model, we're not interested. If we can't see how to "monitize this sucker," we're not interested. When the future manifests itself merely as a murmur of possibility, we are not interested.<br /><br />Too bad. There is really only one way to live in a world of speed, surprise, noise, and responsiveness, and that's to visit the future frequently. And, if we have the intellectual capital, maybe get a pied-à-terre. Well, and if we're really committed, we need someone to take up residence full time.<br /><br />Most of all, we want a corporation that is porous in ways it was not before. We want it to cantilever out into the future. We want to make pieces of the future to happen inside the corporation. We want pieces of the corporation to happen out there in the future. In sum, we want the corporation and the future, once so completely separated from one another, to have a new reciprocity and transparency.<br /><br />It's a weird idea, counter-intuitive in exactly the ways that provoke suspicion and dismissal. And it is an idea that will make a hash of the model of the corporation we mostly keep in our heads. But honestly, we have no real choice.

Apr 12, 13

Within the last quarter century, intellectual capital has emerged as the leading asset class. The term "intellectual captial" refers generally to traditional intellectual property assets - patents, trademarks and copyrights. At Ocean Tomo, we uniquely include within the definition of "intellectual capital" special client intangible assets, especially corporate and government preference rights.<br /><br />Recent and anticipated changes in accounting rules and securities reporting will further the recognition of intangible assets. The growth in the value of Intellectual Capital Equity® can be seen when evaluating the market capitalization of the S&P 500 as shown in the chart below.

Apr 02, 13

In a special issue of the journal Long Range Planning, Charles Baden-Fuller and Mary Morgan say that business models can serve three different purposes. They can describe different kinds and types of businesses. This is critical if we are trying to study them analytically. They can be short-hand descriptions of how firms operate – the primary value here is that you can use the business model to ensure that you have strategic fit across activities. Or they can be role models – you can use them to describe how you want your organisation to function.<br /><br />More recently, Steve Blank has added another use – he says that business models are hypotheses about how your organisation might be able to create value for customers (see my discussion of this here).

May 01, 12

Based on my experience, there are at least three (largely unintentional) reasons why managers send mixed messages about innovation.

First, managers need immediate results, often reinforced by short-term incentive plans or the regular expectation of earnings improvements. Innovation may take a long time to produce returns, which conflicts with these short-term requirements. So even though managers know that innovation is necessary, most do not have the patience to wait years for results. Consequently, they say that innovation is important, but they don't back it up with time or resources.

Managers may also fear that innovation will cannibalize current business. I've seen managers slow down investments in new products because customers might switch to something less expensive or longer-lasting, or otherwise impact existing results. In other words, while managers might want to disrupt their competitors, they are less comfortable disrupting themselves.

Additionally, managers are often schooled in slow, continuous improvement. Approaches like Six Sigma have helped companies squeeze out inefficiencies, but also tend to reinforce existing processes with an eye towards doing them better. On the other hand, innovation requires messy experiments instead of methodical analysis. As a result, managers who have grown up in a continuous-improvement culture may be uncomfortable with change that doesn't happen step-by-step.

If you recognize these mixed messages in your organization, here are a couple of ideas for picking up the pace of innovation:

Talk about how innovation is avoided. Politely and respectfully ask your manager or senior team about their commitment to innovation. Share the mixed messages you've perceived and provide examples of missed innovation opportunities. Remember that most managers are not intentionally trying to prevent innovation — so discussing the dilemmas will make decision-makers more conscious of them.

Work on innovation with colleagues. Instead of working alone, partner with co-workers to achieve an explicit innovation goal. For example, one divisional leadership team decided to spend every Friday morning focusing on how they could develop business for "the year after." By carving out the time, and reinforcing to each other the legitimacy of working on something without a short-term payoff, they were able to make more progress than any of them could have made alone.

Mar 16, 12

This is an alphabetical list of over 100 websites for learning about all aspects of business - strategy, management, leadership, marketing, finance, accounting, economics, as well as business skills. It includes a range of sites suitable for both business studies education, workplace learning, and for educators, learners and managers alike.  The sites include both formal and informal learning resources – games, podcasts, blogs, videos, books, PDFs, as well as  online courses, communities and other general resources. [Email additions to the list]

Mar 06, 12

In today’s manufacturing plants, information systems are usually very hierarchical and depend on predetermined rules. As manufacturing systems become more complex, it will become much more difficult for individuals to spot small deviations and trends within the system. This means that factories, in a way, will need to become “self-aware” in order to support optimized systems. This self-awareness will cause transformations in the way people work. There will be far greater use of simulation to look at the manufacturing systems’ ability to react to changes, such as the introduction of a new product or factory rearrangement. The line between the virtual and physical world will also start to blur, forcing most manufacturing engineers to become more adept at dealing with virtual control systems simulation and other such technologies.

Feb 20, 12

Umberto Eco proclaimed that:  

"The list is the origin of culture. It’s part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible.

It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity?

How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries.

There is an allure to enumerating how many women Don Giovanni slept with: It was 2,063, at least according to Mozart’s librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte.

We also have completely practical lists — the shopping list, the will, the menu — that are also cultural achievements in their own right.” ~ Umberto Eco [hat tip Maria Popova]

We like lists because we want to matter.

Feb 20, 12

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Jan 18, 12

Here’s a new year’s tip for managers: Give telecommuting workers more slack, said Harold Jarche, chairman of workplace consulting firm Internet Time Alliance in Sackville, N.B.
While information technology has liberated many employees from their offices, many managers have been slow to accept that staff who are out of their sight can still be productive. “For many employers this has created expectations that telecommuting employees check in with the office regularly,” Mr. Jarche noted. “This can require an unnecessary layer of extra work for both workers and their bosses and can stifle individual initiative.”

Jan 16, 12

The term Business Model is one that gets thrown around a lot these days. Even though it might sound like a buzzword to you, it’s important to understand what a business model is, and how they are useful.

One of the confusing things about the business model concept is that there are a wide variety of models of business models, and it seems as though everyone that talks about them makes up a new one. This can be frustrating if you are trying to figure out how to use the concept.

Jan 14, 12

Google chairman Eric Schmidt has touted Google+ not as a “social network” but an “identity service.” With Search Plus, not only will our identity be reduced to a name and photo, as 4chan founder Chris “Moot” Poole brilliantly argued in October, but through Google+, we will effectively be applying SEO (search engine optimization) principles to ourselves. It’s happening already.

Scripting News’ Dave Winer, among others, thinks this is more or less just deserts for Twitter. Twitter has little room to complain about Google, Winer argues, after trying a similar kind of vertical integration by moving into and largely taking over the Twitter client business. And Facebook is even less likely to draw sympathy from advocates for the open web.

Still, this potentially marks a real transformation to the way we have looked for information on the web, one with real winners and losers. It also signals a real danger to the balance of power between users and megacompanies. We are increasingly moving from a bottom-up web, where users vote with their links, keyboards and their clicks to show what’s relevant to them, to a top-down web where that’s doubly or triply mediated by browsers, search engines and social networks.

This could be how the web dies: not with a sudden migration to bespoke client apps, but by drifting into a silo so big that most of us don’t even notice that anything has changed at all.

Jan 12, 12

After dramatic restrictions on liquidity instituted by Brazilian president Fernando Collor de Mello to combat hyperinflation in 1990, the Brazilian economy went into a severe downturn, forcing many companies to declare bankruptcy. Workers at Semco agreed to wage cuts, providing their share of profits was increased to 39%, management salaries were cut by 40% and employees were given the right to approve every item of expenditure.

Performing multiple roles during the crisis gave workers greater knowledge of the operations and more suggestions on how to improve the business. Reforms implemented during that time led to 65% reduction in inventories, a marked reduction in product delivery times and a product defects rate that fell to less than 1%. As the business climate improved, Semco's revenues and profitability improved dramatically.

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